Analysis for The Incredulous Paradise

September 30, 2009 at 3:43 pm 2 comments

The Incredulous Paradise – (Heaven, the word incredulous meaning “skeptical” or “disbelieving” Heaven is the ultimate paradise that so few believe actually exists.)

Casey Markland

Stanza 1:

Follow me, through my dreams,

No headstrong queens or emasculated kings, -(an allusion to “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll)

No witches or wizards at the end of this road, -(an allusion to “The Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum)

No one fighting for power in my Xanadu. -(an allusion to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Kahn”)

This first stanza introduces two of the themes of the poem, the first being the famous “wonderlands”; Carrolls, Baum’s, and Coleridge’s, and their imperfections.  The second theme is issues in OUR world that continuously keep us from achieving peace.  These worldly issues exist in all worlds, the “wonderlands” as well as our own.

Stanza 2:

There is only one road to this wondrous place,-( I know I said the issues existed in all the worlds, but this “wondrous place” is the only world that has no issues)

One fearsome path that seekers must take,– (death)

This magical gateway, unbeknownst to man,– (death is the only true mystery man is left to wonder about, since no one can die and live to tell about it, it is a true mystery. Even things like space travel and deep sea exploration are likely to be explained before the age old question, “what happens when you die?”. )

A frightful slumber cast by a chilly hand.

The second stanza explains how to get to this incredible, mysterious, place.  In order to get to the ultimate “wonderland” (heaven) you have to die.

Stanza 3:

A small price to pay for eternal bliss,

A world without inanity, greed, or wickedness,– (these are the things spoken of in the first stanza, Wonderland was inane, as are most people in our world, stupidity and ignorance are problems in both worlds.  The inhabitants of Xanadu were greedy, they just couldn’t leave well enough alone, like Adam and Eve, which I believe to be a story about “progress”.  Notice when you look back in history life seemed to be so much better, sure, there were more diseases and whatnot, but life was simpler things were all black and white.  We keep progressing, trying to get better when we only seem to be making situations worse.  Witches and Wizards are commonly thought to be “wicked” and they are the top authorities in the land of OZ, much like our worlds politicians are thought to be wicked people, and many of them, overcome with greed, and driven by the inanity of the people, do in fact become wicked.

A place constructed in spite of the rest,– (Heaven exists as an antithesis to the world that God has forced upon us.  The world we live in is imperfect, and what we do here determines whether or not we will be granted access to Heaven.  We must endure this “hell”, before being allowed “eternal bliss”.  Satan is the ruler of “hell” he was also given power over earth, so it leads one to wonder, is there actually a “hell” or is earth the only hell? If the later is the case than atheists AND Christians have it right, believers go to heaven, non believers stay on earth, or in other words, in hell.

A true wonderland exists, ‘tis no jest.– (poking fun at people who think faith, Christianity, “believing”, and Heaven, are all just a joke.)

Stanza 4:

I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole,– (Alice, fell down the rabbit hole to Wonderland)

I’ve walked to Emerald City,– (Dorothy walked the yellow brick road to OZ)

I’ve flown to Kubla’s Xanadu,­– (Coleridge got high, or “flew” to Xanadu)

And still I feel no pity.

The fourth stanza says that I’ve considered all the other options, and I’ve seen the problems with all of them (this world and the “wonderlands”, or, other ways of thinking) and I don’t feel pity for people who choose to be deceived by them.

Stanza 5:

These “Wonderlands” are charlatans,

Cloaked in fame and charm,

Beguiling weak wanderers,

Who cannot see past arms.– (these people can not see past their outstretched arms, they cannot see beyond their own wants and desires, they have no consideration for others, they want what they want when they want it with no care what happens to anyone else, this is what a “liberal” “open-mind” eventually leads too, selfishness.)

In this stanza, I begin to explain that the wonderlands as well as our own world, are not so great.  They are full of tricks to deceive people who are too weak-minded to see the truth. (The devil, remember, is the ruler of earth.  It is in his best interest to keep as many people under his power as possible, therefore he deceives people into believing that his way (earth) is the best, and heaven does not exist.  The “selfish” people who cannot see past themselves are liberal, which in theory is a good idea, but can easily become destructive because of the terrible three, the inane, the greedy, and the wicked, which are all driven by the devil.  The “believers” live by a set of rules and guidelines, which are put there to help us, to keep us pleasant and caring toward one another, by denying these guidelines we open up the world to the deception of Satan.

Stanza 6:

Only the enlightened can enter my domain,– ( The word “enlightened” is synonymous to “liberal”, and “progressive”, two things that this poem criticizes.  In theory, these two words (or mindsets) mean good things, but in actuality, they are detrimental to satisfying life on earth. Progress I discussed earlier,  the former, doesn’t work because of the aforementioned “inanity, greed, and wickedness”. I use the word “enlightened” to poke fun at the typical synonyms, and use it to mean, those who are not deceived by Satan.  Most of which are people thought to be “closed-minded”)

Those who are willing to put the rest to shame,

To expose them for what they truly are,

Asylums of philosophies, keeping us at war.– (I use the word “asylums” because it is most commonly associated with insane asylums. Which is an analogy to the people who do not “believe”.  Philosophy is used to represent “ism’s”.  Ism’s are bad, they are what tear the world apart, they are what send us to war, Ism’s force people to take sides, they are mindsets, and mindsets separate us when instead we should bind together and keep each other strong.)

Stanza 7:

You can Hyde, but you can’t escape,– (“Hyde” is an allusion to Robert Luis Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.  Mr. Hyde represents a part of Dr. Jekyll.  When Dr. Jekyll drinks his potion his “id”, (referring to Freud’s “id”, “ego”, and “super-ego” theory. *See note below for a more in depth explanation of this)  which is embodied in Mr. Hyde, separates from his ego and super ego in order to act out Dr. Jekyll’s deepest and most fearsome wants and desires.  This line of the poem means you can succumb to all of your wants and desires, but in the end, you won’t be able to escape judgment.)

What one day you will have to face,– (the aforementioned “Judgment day”)

That eternal winter, cold and cruel,– (obviously death. Winter is a metaphor for death since, in wintertime, everything is dead, the plants die, animals hibernate or migrate, people stay in doors.  And just like winter, which has a spring for rebirth, people have a “rebirth” in going to heaven.

The last path taken, to reach the Golden Rule.– ( The “Golden Rule” or “Ethic of Reciprocity” which is, essentially, the basis for human rights.  The only way to receive justice for all mankind is through death, since it will never be achieved here on earth.  The only place it is found is in Heaven.)

Stanza 8:

You cannot leave; it’s a one way road,

No ruby slippers, no angry queens,

No fantastical drug induced dreams.

This stanza means that once you die, you don’t get a second chance, unlike the other “wonderlands” which were all just dreams with a way to wake up.  Dorothy had her ruby slippers to wake her from her dream, Alice was chased out of wonderland by the evil queen and that’s how she was awoken, and Xanadu was a dream Coleridge had while he was in an opium induced “sleep” as soon as he came down from his high, the “paradise” was gone. Death is absolute, you don’t wake-up, and you can’t go back.

Stanza 9:

Only the sound of a babbling brook,

Devoid of even a single gleam,

It’s a reality in the form of a dream.

What will you choose? The babbling brook is symbolic of nature, or, “rejoining the earth” otherwise, “not believing”, as peaceful as it may sound notice it is devoid of any kind of consciousness (“a single gleam”).  Where as Heaven is the ultimate dream world, it’s everything we want on earth, it’s perfection, it’s “like a dream” but it’s only for those who are willing to believe it’s truly there.

*Freud’s theory on the “id”, “ego” and “super-ego” in relation to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  This was something I worked on years ago for both an AP lit paper and a psychology project (I killed two birds with one stone).

The “Id” is the part of the mind that is irrational, and unorganized, it is the part that wants without thinking of consequences.  This explains why Mr. Hyde is a man of poor moral values, detested by society.

Dr. Jekyll represents the opposite side of the spectrum, the “super-ego” the rational side that thinks about consequences and doesn’t act on want and impulse.  Dr. Jekyll is a nice man, whom everyone gets along with.

By taking the potion Dr. Jekyll separates the id (Mr. Hyde), and the super-ego (himself), eliminating the ego (the part that keeps the id and super-ego balanced) altogether.

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The Incredulous Paradise Quotes

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ashley  |  October 11, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Wow sis, I like it even more now that I’ve read the analysis! I’m not actually
    sure where I stand on a lot of these issues either at this point, but
    it’s something I’ve definitely been giving a lot of thought to over
    the past few years. I definitely disagree with your views of
    liberalism, but like you said, it’s just your opinion and this is just
    mine. Officially I consider myself an independent, but technically
    I’m pretty much liberal and I really don’t understand not being so.
    But that’s just me. As far as paradise is concerned…I think that’s
    mainly what led to me not being a Christian anymore. That and Uncle
    Steve. I knew what Christians believed about the afterlife and I knew
    that that involved Uncle Steve going straight to hell because he
    doesn’t believe in Christ…it led to me starting to have slightly
    different ideas about Christianity until I realized I don’t believe in
    it at all. I consider myself an agnostic now because I don’t really
    know what I feel about any gods for the most part–my main feeling is
    it doesn’t make sense for there to be any. I don’t want to believe
    that, but I can’t force a belief on myself that just doesn’t make
    sense.

    I do indeed want there to be a heaven (I stopped believing in hell
    back when I was having those thoughts about people like U. Steve).
    I’d never even looked at it this way before, about people staying on
    earth and that IS hell…I like that thought a lot and may even adopt
    it as my wishful thinking. It’s basically what I want, I guess–I
    feel a perfect world to me, in which I have everything I want, would
    just be to stay young forever in this world with Alan and all loved
    ones. I’ve felt this for a while. I don’t want to age and I just
    want to have him with me forever. I can’t see living life without
    having him beside me.

    Around the time I was having these thoughts and changing beliefs, I
    met Alan and he loaned me this book, a graphic novel called Promethea,
    by Alan Moore. It was a series and I read all of it, and it basically
    gave me that idea, of the afterlife just being a continuation of where
    you are now…I’ve read it several times now because that idea just
    makes me so happy, that you’ll be able to just repeat this life, the
    good and the bad parts, because this is heaven to me already.

    I also watched this movie in a class a few years ago that I can NEVER
    remember the name of, but I’ll find out if you’re interested in
    watching it. It’s a Japanese movie that takes place in a sort of
    limbo, and the premise is that in this place, the people who work
    there (not sure why they’re there–they just haven’t moved on yet) can
    recreate one experience for the people currently stuck there…one
    experience from their life. They have a certain period of time to
    choose which experience it will be, and they must choose carefully
    because this will be their afterlife–they will live this experience
    over and over. I think about this a lot now and have decided that of
    my life so far, the experience I would choose would be my wedding.
    Not for any cheesy bridezilla sort of reason, but because it’s the one
    I can think of that would include the most of my loved ones that I
    think I could fit in there. That would be heaven to me. (Also, I
    would get to look all beautiful in it and have people telling me that
    over and over again for eternity too, and that wouldn’t be so bad.
    :-D)

    Mainly, in all honestly, I have to admit I don’t think I really
    believe in the afterlife, because it kind of goes with believing in
    god or gods. I want to, I really do, and I know basically what I want
    out of it, but if asked, I’d have to say I do not believe.

    We can continue this discussion if you want; it’s one of the topics
    that’s most interesting to me these days. But again, great job with
    the poem…I showed it to Rian because I was so impressed with it, and
    he wanted you to know he really liked it too.

    Reply
  • 2. effortless english  |  May 28, 2013 at 9:27 am

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